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Obama Addresses Wall Street

Aired September 14, 2009 - 11:59   ET


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And let's take you to Federal Hall right now and the president of the United States is speaking.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you so much, everybody. Thank you. Please, have a seat. Thank you very much.

It is wonderful to be back in New York after having just been here last week. It is a beautiful day and we have some extraordinary guests here in the hall today. I just want to mention a few.

First of all, from my economic team, somebody who I think has done extraordinary work on behalf of all Americans and has helped to strengthen our financial system, Secretary Tim Geithner. Please give him a big round of applause.


Somebody who is continually guiding me and keeping me straight on the numbers, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, is here.


OBAMA: We have an extraordinary economic recovery board and as chairman, somebody who knows more about the financial markets and the economy generally than just about anybody in this country, Paul Volcker. Thank you, Paul.


The outstanding mayor of the city of New York, Mr. Michael Bloomberg.


We have Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver -- is here as well. Thank you.


We have a host of members of Congress. But there's one that I have to single out because he is going to be helping to shape the agenda doing forward to make sure that we have one of the strongest, most dynamic and most innovative financial markets in the world for many years to come. And that's my good friend, Barney Frank.


I also want to thank our hosts for the National Park Service here at Federal Hall and all the other outstanding public officials who are here. Thanks for being here. Thank you for your warm welcome. It's a privilege to be in historic Federal Hall.

It was here more than two centuries ago that our first Congress served and our first president was inaugurated. And I just had a chance to glance at the Bible upon which George Washington took his oath. It was here in the early days of the republic that Hamilton and Jefferson debated how best to administer a young economy and ensure that our nation rewarded the talents and drive of its people.

And two centuries later, we still grapple with these questions, questions made more acute in moments of crisis. It was one year ago today that we experienced just such a crisis. As investors and pension holders watched with dread and dismay and after a series of emergency meetings, often conducted in the dead of night, several of the world's largest and oldest financial institutions had fallen either bankrupt, bought or bailed out: Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Washington Mutual, Wachovia.

A week before this began, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had been taken over by the government. Other large firms teetered on the brink of insolvency. Credit markets froze as banks refused to lend, not only to families and businesses, but to one another.

$5 trillion dollars of Americans' household wealth evaporated in the span of just three months. That was just one year ago. And Congress and the previous administration took difficult but necessary action in the days and months that followed.

Nonetheless, when this administration walked through the door in January, the situation remained urgent. The markets had fallen sharply. Credit was not flowing. There was fear that the largest banks, those that remained standing, had too little capital and far too much exposure to risky loans. And the consequences have spread far beyond the streets of lower Manhattan.

This was no longer just a financial crisis. It had become a full-blown economic crisis with home prices sinking and businesses struggling to access affordable credit and the economy shedding an average of 700,000 jobs every single month.

We could not separate what was happening in the corridors of our financial institutions from what was happening on the factory floors and around the kitchen tables. Home foreclosures linked those who took out home loans and those who repackaged those loans as securities. A lack of access to affordable credit threatened the health of large firms and small businesses as well as all those whose jobs depended on them. And a weakened financial system weakened the broader economy, which in turn further weakened the financial system.

So the only way to address successfully any of these challenges was to address them together. And this administration, under the outstanding leadership of Tim Geithner and Christy Roemer (ph) and Larry Sommers and others, moved quickly on all fronts initializing a financial stability plan to rescue the system from the crisis and restart lending for all those affected by the crisis.

By opening and examining the books of large financial firms, we helped restore the availability of two things that had been in short supply: capital and confidence. By taking aggressive and innovative steps in credit markets, we spurred lending, not just to banks, but to folks looking to buy homes or cars, take out student loans or finance small businesses.

Our homeownership plan has helped responsible homeowners refinance to stem the tide of lost homes and lost home values. And the recovery plan is providing help to the unemployed and tax relief for working families, all the while spurring consumer spending. It's prevented layoffs of tens of thousands of teachers and police officers and other essential public servants. And thousands of recovery projects are underway all across America, including right here in New York City, putting people to work building wind turbines and solar panels, renovating schools and hospitals, repairing our nation's roads and bridges.

Eight months later, the work of recovery continues. And though I will never be satisfied while people are out of work and our financial system is weakened, we can be confident that the storms of the past two years are beginning to break.

In fact, while there continues to be a need for government involvement to stabilize the financial system, that necessity is waning. After months in which public dollars were flowing into our financial system, we're finally beginning to see money flowing back to taxpayers.

This doesn't mean taxpayers will escape the worst financial crisis in decades entirely unscathed. But banks have repaid more than $70 billion. And in those cases where the government's stakes have been sold completely, taxpayers have actually earned a 17 percent return on their investment.

Just a few months ago, many experts from across the ideological spectrum feared that ensuring financial stability would require even more tax dollars. Instead we have been able to eliminate a $250 billion reserve included in our budget because that fear has not been realized.

While full recovery of the financial system will take a great deal more time and work, the growing stability resulting from these interventions means we're beginning to return to normalcy. But here is what I want to emphasize today: Normalcy cannot lead to complacency. Unfortunately, there are some in the financial industry who are misreading this moment. Instead of learning the lessons of Lehman and the crisis from which we're still recovering, they're choosing to ignore those lessons. I am convinced they do so not just at their own peril, but at our nation's.

So I want everybody here to hear my words. We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess that was at the heart of this crisis where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses. Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences and expect that next time American taxpayers will be there to break their fall.

And that's why we need strong rules of the road to guard against the kind of systemic risks that we've seen. And we have a responsibility to write and enforce these rules to protect consumers of financial products, to protect taxpayers and to protect our economy as a whole.

Yes, there must -- these rules must be developed in a way that doesn't stifle innovation and enterprise. And I want to say very clearly here today: We want to work with the financial industry to achieve that end. But the old ways that led to this crisis cannot stand. And to the extent that some have so readily returned to them underscores the need for change and change now. History cannot be allowed to repeat itself.

And what we're calling for is for the financial industry to join us in a constructive effort to update the rules and regulatory structure, to meet the challenges of this new century. That is what my administration seeks to do. We've sought ideas and input from industry leaders and policy experts, academics, consumer advocates and the broader public.

And we've worked closely with leaders in the Senate and the House, including not only Barney, but also Senators Chris Dodd and Richard Shelby. And Barney is already working with his counterpart, Sheldon (ph) Baucus. And we intend to pass regulatory reform through Congress.

And taken together, we're proposing the most ambitious overhaul of the financial regulatory system since the Great Depression. But I want to emphasize that these reforms are rooted in a simple principle: We ought to set clear rules of the road that promote transparency and accountability. That's how we'll make certain that markets foster responsibility, not recklessness.

That's how we'll make certain that markets reward those who compete honestly and vigorously within the system instead of those who are trying to game the system. So let me outline specifically what we're talking about.

First, we're proposing new rules to protect consumers and a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to enforce those rules.


This crisis was not just the result of decisions made by the mightiest of financial firms. It was also the result of decisions made by ordinary Americans to open credit cards and take on mortgages. And while there were many who took out loans they knew they couldn't afford, there were also millions of Americans who signed contracts they didn't fully understand offered by lenders who didn't always tell the truth.

This is in part because there's no single agency charged with making sure that doesn't happen. That's what we intend to change.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency will have the power to make certain that consumers get information that is clear and concise and to prevent the worst kinds of abuses. Consumers shouldn't have to worry about loan contracts designed to be unintelligible, hidden fees attached to their mortgage and financial penalties, whether through a credit card or a debit card that appear without warning on their statements.

And responsible lenders, including community banks, doing the right thing shouldn't have to worry about ruinous competition from unregulated competitors. Now, there are those who are suggesting that somehow this will restrict the choices available to consumers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The lack of clear rules in the past meant we had the wrong kind of innovation. The firm that could make its products look the best by doing the best job of hiding the real costs ended up getting the business. For example, we had teaser rates on credit cards and mortgages that lured people in and then surprised them with big rate increases. By setting ground rules we'll increase the kind of competition that actually provides people better and greater choices as companies compete to offer the best products, not the ones that are most complex or the most confusing.

Second, we've got to close the loopholes that were at the heart of the crisis. Where there were gaps in the rules, regulators lacked the authority to take action. Where there were overlaps, regulators often lacked accountability for inaction. These weaknesses in oversight engendered systematic and systemic abuse.

Under existing rules, some companies can actually shop for the regulator of their choice. And others, like hedge funds, can operate outside of the regulatory system altogether.

We've seen the development of financial instruments like derivatives and credit default swaps without anyone examining the risks or regulating all of the players. And we've seen lenders profit by providing loans to borrowers who they knew would never repay because the lender offloaded the loan and the consequences to somebody else.

Those who refused to game the system are at a disadvantage. Now, one of the main reasons this crisis could take place is that many agencies and regulators were responsible for oversight of individual financial firms and their subsidiaries, but no one was responsible for protecting the system as a whole. In other words, regulators were charged with seeing the trees, but not the forest. And even then, some firms that posed a systemic risk were not regulated as strongly as others, exploiting loopholes in the system to take on greater risk with less scrutiny.

As a result, the failure of one firm threatened the viability of many others. We were facing one of the largest financial crises in history. And those responsible for oversight were caught off-guard and without the authority to act. And that's why we'll create clear accountability and responsibility for regulating large financial firms that pose a systemic risk. While holding the Federal Reserve fully accountable for regulation of the largest, most interconnected firms, we'll create an oversight council to bring together regulators from across markets to share information, to identify gaps in regulation and to tackle issues that don't fit neatly into an organizational chart.

We'll also require these financial firms to meet stronger capital and liquidity requirements and observe greater constraints on their risky behavior. That's one of the lessons of the past year: The only way to avoid a crisis of this magnitude is to ensure that large firms can't take risks that threaten our entire financial system and to make sure that they have the resources to weather even the worst of economic storms.

Even as we've proposed safeguards to make the failure of large and interconnected firms less likely, we've also created -- proposed creating what's called resolution authority in the event that such a failure happens and poses a threat to the stability of the financial system. This is intended to put an end to the idea that some firms are too big to fail.

For a market to function, those who invest and lend in that market must believe that their money is actually at risk. And the system as a whole isn't safe until it is safe from the failure of any individual institution.

If a bank approaches insolvency, we have a process through the FDIC that protects depositors and maintains confidence in the banking system. This process was created during the Great Depression when the failure of one bank led to runs on other banks, which in turn threatened the banking system as a whole. That system works.

But we don't have any kind of process in place to contain the failure of a Lehman Brothers or AIG or any of the largest and most interconnected financial firms in our country. And that's why when this crisis began, crucial decisions about what would happen to some of the world's biggest companies, companies employing tens of thousands of people and holding trillions of dollars of assets, took place in hurried discussions in the middle of the night. That's why we've had to rely on taxpayer dollars.

The only resolution authority we currently have that would prevent a financial meltdown involved tapping the Federal Reserve or the Federal Treasury. With so much at stake, we should not be forced to choose between allowing a company to fail into a rapid and chaotic dissolution that threatens the economy and innocent people or alternatively, forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. So, our plan would put the costs of a firm's failures on those who own its stock and loaned it money. And if taxpayers ever have to step in again to prevent a second Great Depression, the financial industry will have to pay the taxpayer back every cent.

Finally, we need to close the gaps that exist, not just within this country, but among countries. The United States is leading a coordinated response to promote recovery and to restore prosperity among both the world's largest economies and the world's fastest growing economies. At a summit in London in April, leaders agreed to work together in an unprecedented way to spur global demand, but also to address the underlying problems that caused such a deep and lasting global recession.

And this work will continue next week in Pittsburgh when I convene the G-20, which has proven to be an effective forum for coordinating policies among key developed and emerging economies and one that I see taking on an important role in the future. Essential to this effort is reforming what's broken in the global financial system, a system that links economies and spreads both rewards and risks.

For we know that abuses in financial markets anywhere could have an impact everywhere. And just as gaps in domestic regulation lead to a race to the bottom, so do gaps in regulation around the world. What we need instead is a global race to the top, including stronger capital standards, as I've called for today.

As the United States is aggressively reforming our regulatory system, we're going to be working to ensure that the rest of the world does the same. And this is something that Secretary Geithner has already been actively meeting with finance ministers around the world to discuss.

A healthy economy in the 21st century also depends on our ability to buy and sell goods in markets across the globe. And make no mistake, this administration is committed to pursuing expanded trade and new trade agreements. It is absolutely essential to our economic future.

And each time that we have met with the G-20 and the G-8, we have reaffirmed the need to fight against protectionism. But no trading system will work if we fail to enforce our trade agreements, those that have already been signed. So when, as happened this weekend, we invoke provisions of existing agreements, we do so not to be provocative or to promote self-defeating protectionism. We do so because enforcing trade agreements is part and parcel of maintaining an open and free trading system.

And just as we have to live up to our responsibilities on trade, we have to live up to our responsibilities on financial reform as well. I have urged leaders in Congress to pass regulatory reform this year. And both Congressman Frank and Senator Dodd, who are leading this effort, have made it clear that that's what they intend to do.

Now, there will be those who defend the status quo. There always are. There will be those who argue we should do less or nothing at all. There will be those who engage in revisionist history or have selective memories and don't seem to recall what we just went through last year.

But to them I'd say only this: Do you really believe that the absence of sound regulation one year ago was good for the financial system? Do you believe the resulting decline in markets and wealth and unemployment, the wrenching hardship that families are going through all across the country, was somehow good for our economy? Was that good for the American people?

I have always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. I believe that jobs are best created, not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs willing to take a risk on a good idea. I believe that the role of the government is not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach, not to stifle markets, but to provide the ground rules and level playing field that helps to make those markets more vibrant and that will allow us to better tap the creative and innovative potential of our people for we know that it is the dynamism of our people that has been the source of America's progress and prosperity.

So I promise you, I did not run for president to bail out banks or intervene in capital markets. But it is important to note that the very absence of common sense regulations able to keep up with a fast- paced financial sector is what created the need for that extraordinary intervention, not just with our administration, but the previous administration. The lack of sensible rules of the road so often opposed by those who claim to speak for the free market ironically led to a rescue far more intrusive than anything any of us, Democratic or Republican, Progressive or Conservative, would have ever proposed or predicted.

At the same time, we have to recognize that what's needed now goes beyond just the reforms that I've mentioned. For what took place one year ago was not merely a failure of regulation or legislation. It wasn't just a failure of oversight or foresight. It was also a failure of responsibility. It was fundamentally a failure of responsibility that allowed Washington to become a place where problems, including structural problems in our financial system, were ignored rather than solved.

It was a failure of responsibility that led homebuyers and derivatives traders alike to take reckless risks that they couldn't afford to take. It was a collective failure of responsibility in Washington, on Wall Street and across America that led to the near collapse of our financial system one year ago.

So restoring a willingness to take responsibility, even when it's hard to do, is at the heart of what we must do. Here on Wall Street you have a responsibility. The reforms I have laid out will pass, and these changes will become law. But one of the most important ways to rebuild the system stronger than it was before is to rebuild trust stronger than before.

And you don't have to wait for a new law to do that. You don't have to wait to use plain language in your dealings with consumers. You don't have to wait for legislation to put the 2009 bonuses of your senior executives up for a shareholder vote. You don't have to wait for a law to overhaul your pay systems so that folks are rewarded for long-term performance instead of short-term gains.

The fact is many of the firms that are now returning to prosperity owe a debt to the American people. They were not the cause of this crisis. And yet American taxpayers, through their government, had to take extraordinary action to stabilize the financial industry. They shouldered the burden of the bailout. And they are still bearing the burden of the fallout in lost jobs and lost homes and lost opportunities. It is neither right nor responsible after you've recovered, with the help of your government, to shirk your obligation to the goal of wider recovery, a more stable system and a more broadly shared prosperity.

So, I want to urge you to demonstrate that you take this obligation to heart, to put greater effort into helping families who need their mortgages modified under my administration's home ownership plan, to help small-business owners who desperately need loans and who are bearing the brunt of the decline in available credit, to help communities that would benefit from the financing you could provide or the community development institutions you could support to come up with creative approaches to improve financial education and to bring banking to those who live and work entirely outside of the banking system and, of course, to embrace serious financial reform, not resist it.

Just as we are asking the private sector to think about the long- term, I recognize that Washington has to do so as well. When my administration came through the door, we not only faced a financial crisis and costly recession, we also found waiting a trillion dollar deficit.

So, yes, we had to take extraordinary action in the wake of an extraordinary economic crisis. But I am absolutely committed to putting this nation on a sound and secure fiscal footing. And that's why we're pushing to restore pay-as-you-go rules in Congress because I will not go along with the old Washington ways which said it was OK to pass spending bills and tax cuts without a plan to pay for it.

That's why we're cutting programs that don't work or are out of date. That's why I've insisted that health insurance reform, as important as it is, not add a dime to the deficit now or in the future.

There are those who would suggest that we must choose between markets unfettered by even the most modest of regulations and markets weighed down by onerous regulations that suppress the spirit of enterprise and innovation. If there is one lesson we can learn from last year, it is that this is a false choice. Common sense rules of the road don't hinder the market. They make the market stronger. Indeed, they are essential to ensuring that our markets function fairly and freely.

One year ago we saw in stark relief how markets can spin out of control, how a lack of common sense rules can lead to excess and abuse, how close we can come to the brink. One year later, it is incumbent upon us to put in place those reforms that will prevent this kind of crisis from ever happening again, reflecting painful but important lessons that we've learned and that will help us move from a period of reckless irresponsibility, a period of crisis to one of responsibility and prosperity.

That's what we must do. And I'm confident that's what we will do. Thank you very much, everybody.


HARRIS: You just heard President Obama's big financial speech on Wall Street Federal Hall. Our money team weighs in on what his speech means for Wall Street and Main Street. We are back in a moment.


HARRIS: Not mincing words. President Obama tells Wall Street the nation is beginning to return to financial normalcy, but that cannot lead to complacency. He says he won't stand for it.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess that was at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses. Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences and expect that next time American taxpayers will be there to break their fall. And that's why we need strong rules of the road to guard against the kind of systemic risks that we've seen.


HARRIS: OK. A lot to talk about in the president's speech. We've got CNN's chief financial correspondent, Ali, Velshi, with us.

Ali, good to see you.

And "Your Money" co-host Christine Romans.

Christine, good to see you.

First of all, let's start with a simple baseline here and then we'll jump ahead.

Any question in your minds here that the rules governing the financial system need to reflect 21st century advances in, a, technology, b, innovation?

Ali, you first.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No. No. This is like having a highway system that's built for cars that only go 25 miles an hour, when cars can go 100 miles an hour. It's simply -- the regulatory system just hasn't kept pace and the president sort of outlined that. There's no question in most people's minds it needs to be updated. That doesn't mean more or less, it just means it's not suited to the financial world that we've got.

HARRIS: And, Christine, the president's rules of the road moving forward?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, he wants a consumer protection agency. Remember, we've heard this. We -- in June they unveiled all of this and we've been talking about health care reform. So the president wisely using this anniversary to try to refresh America's memory about what he wants done.

He wants a consumer protection agency. Something to oversee every kind of financial contract that you and I would sign. He wants to end this regulator shopping. We have this patchwork of regulators. So hedge funds aren't even regulated basically. And some companies can kind of shop around to find out the regulator with the weakest oversight and choose that one in some cases.

He wants power over these two big to fail firms so that before a big important company goes down, that the government can see what's happening and find a way to either stop it or to take the company apart if it has to. And he wants to pay for responsibility, not risk. He really told Wall Street, don't think it's going to be the way it was.


ROMANS: Because that's not going to happen. He needs Congress to help do it, though.

HARRIS: Yes. All right. Ali, and then to Christine, same point here. The financial system is a confidence game. If Wall Street wants main street to come back to the table in a big way, a significant way, Wall Street has to take this regulatory medicine and behave already.


VELSHI: Yes, although, you know, already we're seeing some of the old shenanigans.


VELSHI: We're seeing bonuses coming back. We're seeing -- and to some degree we need that, but it's -- the balance is tricky. I have a friend who has a 15-year fixed rate mortgage. One of the best rates I've ever seen. And somebody called her from her bank and said, I can put you into a great adjustable rate mortgage. And she said, really, better than the rate I've got?

HARRIS: Oh, boy.

VELSHI: And they checked and they said, no, we couldn't. But there -- the marketing arms are out there trying to get people into adjustable rates again.


VELSHI: I'm not sure these shenanigans are over just yet.

ROMANS: You know and they're trading, Tony, they're -- look, they're trading unregulated exotic instruments right now and they're making money doing it. I mean they're trading just like, you know, they were before this crisis went down. And there are those people who say when you talk about to big to fail, they -- we're back to pre 2007 levels for some of these companies to big to fail.


HARRIS: Well, what a minute, but here is -- and maybe I'm wrong in all of this. What seems to be the game changer for me, shenanigans maybe coming back, but, you know, we just aren't going to spend the way we used to. There's the evidence of that already. We aren't ever going to finance our lifestyles through credit card debt to the extent that we once did. The Street would be severely hurting itself with the American people if it is seen as resisting regulation. Am I wrong in this?

VELSHI: Well, you know, I think if they had been resisting regulation six months ago, they'd really be seen badly. One of the issues here is the president is using this anniversary to rekindle the urgency of the matter because a year later, a lot of the urgency has dissipated. We don't actually think the financial system is falling apart anymore. We think there's a recession.


VELSHI: And we think the recession will end and we're wondering what it will look like when it ends. But we don't have that sense that something big is going to drop again and I think the president is down there on Wall Street, on the first anniversary of the failure of Lehman Brothers, trying to say, remember how bad this was? We can't let it happen again.

HARRIS: Christine, but if folks are calling, hey, I can get you into that adjustable, aren't we smarter a year later to say, you know, you guys -- you guys . . .

ROMANS: You know, I think there are two issues here. There's the financial system, which can be very complicated and it's still fragile. I want to be very clear, it's still fragile. And then there's the economy. And the economy, the way you and I feel about things and the way we spend our money, I think it's going to change and it's going to change for a very, very long time.

I think that no matter what they do, even with trying to get financial reforms through and the like, Tony, the way you and I feel about our money and the way we spend our money, it's already been really changed. And it's going to -- I think it's going to -- we're all going to slow down a little bit. We're going to ask questions before we spend our money on anything. Financial products or anything we're going to say, is this going to make my family smarter and better and more secure? Those are questions we didn't ask for 30 years. We're asking those questions now. That's a really big change here.

HARRIS: C-change (ph). Ali, appreciate it. Christine, appreciate it. Thank you both.

Let's go to Susan Lisovicz now at the New York Stock Exchange for the market reaction to the president's call for reform. Susan, what are you hearing?

SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a collective yawn. I mean basically the stock market's doing nothing right now because there's nothing new.


LISOVICZ: And in some ways I would say that it's -- the president has pulled back from some of the things that he has talked about. For instance, with regulation. He's talking about now an oversight council. So basically all those regulators will still be there, but now there will be an oversight council, which, I guess in theory sounds OK. The oversight counsel will get together with the regulators and they're supposed to figure out maybe gaps in the system or foresee problems that may be on the horizon.

But, guess what, I mean, you know, there's the FCC, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the CFTC. Nobody really stepped up. I don't think there's a regulator that really gets props for stepping in and preventing this great crisis that we're still dealing with.

HARRIS: Yes. But this idea of overseeing these investments that trade (ph) but aren't regulated right now by any exchanges, I mean that seems to be something that is tangible that we can all understand and needs to be fixed.

LISOVICZ: No question about that. You know, look, I mean, you know, we have high frequency computers, but in a sense, Tony, it really hasn't changed since the day of, you know, pad and pen. Wall Street, the financial industry, will always want to try to make money and consumers, investors, will always want to try to make money quickly.

In the 17th century, believe it or not, there was a stampede into tulip bulbs. In the 19th century there was a stampede into rail roads. In the 20th century dot com. Some of this looks ridiculous just a few years later. But the fact is, there needs to be some transparency so that it's more of a level playing field. People will understand exactly what they're getting into. And Wall Street could stop taking as much risk as they have been. And, frankly, some regulation was already in place.


LISOVICZ: Congress repealed it with depression era regulations. So it's kind of a cycle.


LISOVICZ: We saw -- the president's now talking about more regulation. There was a period of deregulation in the '90s and that was yet another piece in the puzzle that lead to this. So we (INAUDIBLE).

HARRIS: Absolutely. Susan, appreciate it. Great analysis, as always. Thank you.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

HARRIS: And still to come in the CNN NEWSROOM, a Yale graduate student vanished days before her wedding. The missing person's case now a homicide investigation.


HARRIS: Let's get your top stories now.

President Obama has just wrapped up his big speech on Wall Street. The president pushing Congress to approve his plan to overhaul the nation's financial regulatory system. He sees that as the only way to prevent a future financial collapse like the one triggered a year ago when Lehman Brothers collapsed.

Students at Yale University are planning a vigil tonight after the body of a woman was found stuffed in one of the walls of a medical school laboratory. Police believe it may be missing graduate student Annie Le, who was last seen entering the building on Tuesday. Le was set to get married yesterday.

OK, America, roll up your sleeves. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells CNN the first H1N1 flu vaccine will be ready within three weeks. Dr. Thomas Frieden says the vaccine will provide protect with eight to 10 days.

Forget the other health care reform plans. One being worked on right now by the so-called gang of six is expected to be the template for reform. Let's listen in now to the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus.

SEN. MAX BAUCUS, (D) CHAIRMAN, FINANCE COMMITTEE: (INAUDIBLE) agree on. I want to underline that point. I've made that many times and it's true today as well.

Rather than one specific topic today, we discussed several issues, Medicaid, probably because governors are concerned with the budget's plan to increase Medicaid. We talked about medical malpractice. That took a little bit of time. In addition to we discussed immigration. I want to make sure that immigrants are not (INAUDIBLE) in exchange and no benefits here.

We're continuing to work together toward our mutual goal of reforming our health care system. Reduce costs. And I want to underline that. I don't think that's been emphasized enough in all the discussions on health care reform. It is to reduce the rate of growth of health care spending in America and help tens and millions of American families who are on track to release the mark this week and to mark up next week.

We are working to bring this process to closure over the next weeks or so as we approach the mark up. We're going ever closer to moving legislation that will lower costs and insure Americans -- insure that Americans have quality, affordable health care. That process through the Financial Committee. I look forward to working with my colleagues to achieve that goal.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) Senator Conrad said the (INAUDIBLE) for the bill. Can you tell us what it is?

BAUCUS: We're budget neutral. That is over the 10 year period, we will be deficit neutral.

QUESTION: But the totals for us (ph)?

BAUCUS: I don't have a totals for you. I guess that's still moving a big. But it's close to what I've mentioned in the past.

QUESTION: Senator, why has the cost come down (INAUDIBLE).

BAUCUS: Yes, it's been 880. But it's -- you know, it's just some of it's internal interaction of different components. And once they work on it more, you know, they found it simply does not cost as much as previously. And other than that, I -- Jill (ph), I can't answer your question. All I know is we're through the ballpark, and that's what I care most about at this point.

QUESTION: What about the Medicaid breakdowns from the CBO? What are you hearing in terms of the program and how it might shift?

BAUCUS: I think it's quite where -- it's working out quite well. The Medicaid costs, through the expansion, are not going to cost the states near as much as it's originally feared. And that's basically because of the interaction of lots of other programs too, including rebates -- drug rebates, which will be -- is just more expansive and it's more generous to states compared to the current law. And I think, you know, the interaction of the changes that we've made in the chip program also helps states. So on that basis, states are I think going to be pleasantly surprised that there's going to be some additional costs, but much less than they originally expected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One last one, guys, then we got to go.

BAUCUS: I'm going to say -- I'm going to say, I must say that, you know, we're all somewhat pleased with the (INAUDIBLE) Medicaid numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last one, guys.


BAUCUS: Sorry?

QUESTION: Tuesday of this week?

BAUCUS: Well, today is Monday.

QUESTION: Are you on schedule for tomorrow?

BAUCUS: We're on schedule. And that was extremely, extremely -- was a higher probability that the mark will be released tomorrow.

QUESTION: Are you confident that Senators Grassley and Enzi . . .

HARRIS: OK. Some news here. It looks like we will have a bill out of the Senate Finance Committee sometime this week. Maybe as early as tomorrow or Wednesday. Certainly this week.

The CBO has -- the Congressional Budget Office -- has started its work on the bill. The outline of it right now and the entire bill will be able to go to the CEO for a mark up next week.

Still areas to be finalized where the work continues right now, some kind of an expansion of Medicaid. That's insurance to poorer people. How to control the cost of the Medicaid system. How to pay for any expansion of that system. Immigration still being worked on right now, providing safeguard to make sure people who are in the country illegally don't benefit from any new federal health care programs. Those are the two big areas of concern right now. But it looks like we will have a bill out of the Senate Finance Committee finally this week.

We will continue to follow developments in this fast, breaking, developing story right here all day long in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Now that the party is over, Tea Party that is, what's next for the protestors who rallied against big government and the Obama administration? We're back in a moment.


HARRIS: The National Mall in Washington, the last stop for the Tea Party Express. A cross-country protest of big government. Now that it's over, will the message live on? Here's CNN's Kate Bolduan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama, can you hear us now?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A swarm of protestors from across the country descended on Washington this weekend. Loud and frustrated, they railed against big government and the Obama administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not want government involvement in our health care, nor do we want the higher taxation that comes along with such a proposal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just sick and tired of government growing and spending and taxing everybody into bolivian.

BOLDUAN: The event, a culmination of the anti-tax rallies of spring and the health care protests of summer, organized by conservative groups like FreedomWorks, which is lead by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

DICK ARMEY, CHAIRMAN, FREEDOMWORKS: What did they say about it? They weren't real. They're astro turf. They don't know what they're talking about. They'll go away. Well, did you go away or are you back?

BOLDUAN: But now that the match on Washington is over, where will they go next?

DEBORAH JOHNS (ph): Stop the bailout, stop the debt, stop the tax and spending.

BOLDUAN: Deborah Johns, who rode the Tea Party Express from California to Washington insists this grassroots movement has staying power.

BOLDUAN (on camera): This place was a mass of people. They are now gone. It's kind of emblematic of my question, which is, where do you go from here then?

JOHNS: You know what, at all of our stops, we have encouraged everybody in all those cities to stay involved in your local politics. At your local and state levels.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): All with a keen eye towards the 2010 midterm elections and beyond.

JOHNS: We want to start early, we want to keep the focus going and we want the people to know that, you know what, your voice does count.


HARRIS: Organizers say we can expect another nationwide rally in November to mark what they called the start of a countdown to congressional elections.

Officials are studying a newly released audio message reportedly from Osama bin Laden. It warns President Obama that he is powerless to halt the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and must rethink his policy on Israel. The 11-minute tape emerged on radical Islamist Web site Sunday, two days after the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Iraqi reported jailed for throwing his shoes at former President Bush during a news conference is being release. He served nine months of a year-long sentence in a Baghdad jail. His lawyer says he is getting out early for good behavior.

On the first anniversary of the collapse, we look at the lessons of Lehman Brothers. That is next in the NEWSROOM.


HARRIS: On the first anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers the question remains, did the government make a mistake by not saving Lehman? Alan Schwartz, the former CEO of Bear Stearns, a rival brokerage firm that was saved, is speaking out for the first time. Poppy Harlow spoke with him, as well as Citigroup Chairman Dick Parsons in an exclusive interview.


POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: They didn't save Lehman. Dick, should they have?

DICK PARSONS, CITIGROUP CHAIRMAN: Well, hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I think that almost everybody would answer that question today differently than it was answered back a year ago. Yes. But for (ph) would be the answer. I think the thing that was unanticipated was the effect that the collapse of Lehman had on the confidence globally of financial market players that we can continue to do business as we have in the past. And so markets just dissipated, things just froze. There was even a point in time where interbank trading around the world stopped for about an hour.

ALAN SCHWARTZ, FORMER CEO, BEAR STEARNS: I think the answer is probably yes. I think that if they had a way to do it. But the point Dick says about hindsight is, you know, I wish they had. I think Lehman was a great institution. But if they had, then everybody would be able to criticized the way in which they did it. And we don't know what the outcome would have been. Whatever way they decided to "save Lehman," may have caused ripple effect in the marketplace and then people would be saying, look at the idiotic way that they saved Lehman.


HARRIS: All right. We are pushing forward right now with the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM with Kyra Phillips.